Hazel and I met bright and early in the queue at the British Museum, angling for one of the 500 on-the-day tickets available for their The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Warriors exhibition. Getting into the queue at 8.30am (ticket sales start at 9.15am) got us tickets for 2.30pm.
Despite having been to Xi’an and visited the site of the Terracotta Army, the exhibition not only lets you get a lot closer, it’s also much more informative – the Emperor had civil servants, acrobats, musicians and trained entertaining birds accompanying him in terracotta format too.
That said, getting to see the warriors in situ certainly gives you a sense of scale, not just within the excavated site, but also when teamed up with the 3D relief map of the local area, in particular the site of the museum and the as-yet unexcavated imperial burial mound. The two sites are some distance apart, and the three pits only form a small portion of the museum site – you get the sense that all around you there are more treasures to be discovered underground, more larger than life depictions of what the 3rd century BC warrior king-emperor Qin Shi Huangdi wanted in his afterlife.
I wish Hazel and I had visited the burial mound now though. That wasn’t on our itinerary, and even though the guide book didn’t flag it up as worth a look, I feel we ignored something that could possibly turn out to be even more amazing.
All in all, well worth the effort of a early morning start.